IN A NUTSHELL
I’ve written enough about my distaste for the Miami Heat and will not rehash that here. Even if the return of Dion Waiters, a player whose completely unearned swagger and self-deception drives me into fits of apoplexy, really makes me want to, I won’t repeat myself about that. I promise. More importantly: The Boston Celtics had a winning streak on the line, and the Heat, for all their injury upheaval and hard-to-watch (but crudely effective) brand of basketball were the sort of team that could end it.
Which is exactly what they did. In fairly grotesque and embarrassing fashion, at that. After a close dogfight of a first quarter-and-a-half, Miami hit the ground running with a tough old-school type game, led by the astounding Josh Richardson, converted point guard Justise Winslow and some asshole who’s married to Gabrielle Union, I think. Despite a valiant attempt in the third quarter, Boston had little to no chance for a lot of this contest, and have no one but themselves—not the back-to-back, not the travel—for this 99-115 loss.
WHAT WENT RIGHT
- The Heat hardly tried to guard Celtics shooters, which, given their gluelike focus on the painted area (more on that in the WRONG section), made for a marked contrast. Early in the game, this helped; it wasn’t nearly enough to matter in the grand scheme of things.
- Boston should earn credit for weathering the storm after falling behind by more than 25 in the mid-third and going hard after stops. They got about a dozen of ’em and knocked down their own shots on the other end. putting together a 21-3 run over four minutes of game time in which the Heat’s brains turned into a viscous mixture akin to Vancamp pork and beans and their limbs became incapable of basketball activities.
- Kyrie Irving and Marcus Smart both had great shooting nights (22 and 18 points). Jayson Tatum and Marcus Morris both had 17. It didn’t matter.
WHAT WENT WRONG
No team coached by Erik Spoelstra ever fails to play hard aside from individual loafers (namely, Whiteside and Waiters, and even them only periodically), so Miami did well keeping Boston from scoring in the paint and claimed that area for themselves on their end.
- This disparity had a lot to do with the Heat’s second-quarter lead, and how it built from a hairsbreadth to double digits during the latter half of Q2.
- Miami caught Boston sleeping haaaaaaaaard, so they had the original claim on my whole turning-brains-to-pork-and-beans thing detailed above, by that rationale. (Damn it.)
- It got worse in the third—a lot worse, despite eventually getting better in that frame’s second half. The shooting just wasn’t there at all for Boston, so any brief positive moments that looked like the beginning of possible comebacks ended up coming to naught.
- Typical key contributors fell short tonight, including Al Horford, whose line was utterly putrid, and the bench that did so well last night had very little to offer in this contest.
GREEN FIRE HIGHLIGHTS
This Kyrie Irving/Rob Williams action pleases me due to its ignorance of particle physics and the way in which quasar materials power it:
(P.S. If you don’t get the joke in the headline, your loss.)